On the road again, this time to the Great Satan.

It has been a busy year for travel. I was in OZ in January (pleasure), NZ in Feb-March (business and pleasure), Greece in April-May (business and pleasure), OZ again in June (pleasure) and am now headed to the US for five weeks (business and pleasure). My daughter is getting married (to a Republican!) and I have work to do on the Florida house, plus will vote in the state Democratic primary (where everything from dogcatcher to Senator is in play) and scout out opportunities for the political risk/market intelligence/strategic analysis consulting firm I have just re-started (I used to do this sort of consulting before moving to NZ, then switched into a media expert commentary focus, but now need to get back into the bigger game because I have been locked out of NZ and OZ academia as a result of well-known events). I am going to try and base the consultancy in SG and NZ with a Australasian-Latin American focus given my past experience and networks in the latter region. If things go to plan it will be the first dedicated political risk/market intelligence and strategic analysis consultancy based in and focused on NZ’s relations with the Pacific Rim.  However, the US offers more opportunity for a range of work along the lines in which I have some expertise, so I am going to use the trip to visit with old colleagues and work on any networking opportunities that may arise. 

Depending on how things go I will likely do some more traveling before the end of the year. My partner would prefer that I not take assignments in Afghanistan, Pakistan or Iraq, which I find understandable. So I suggested to her that I will instead focus on Yemen and Somalia as possible work sites. You can imagine her reaction. All joking aside, there are plenty of places in which my background and experience could be of help to potential clients (both public and private), so I will try to use the US trip as a springboard to work that will allow me to return to NZ and at worst divide my time between there and SG (my partner still has the full time university job in SG and there is no point in her giving it up until such a time as there are academic openings for her back in NZ or OZ).

Put another way: I may no longer be able to work in academia, but that does not mean that a lifetime accumulation of research and analytic skills need go to waste. Plus, I am not good at being idle or a “kept” man. Hence I need to find intellectually stimulating work that will allow me to contribute to society, with my personal ethics and values being the guide as to what sort of work I accept or reject. The US trip is the first step towards doing so.

All of which is to say that I may be a bit quiet for the next week or so. I will try to post about events in the US as I see them in the build up to the mid-term elections in November. Things have gotten very strained in terms of political debate in that country but it is hard to judge what really is the public mood without living there. The wedding and related visits with friends and family should provide a good cross-section and sounding board on how people feel about Obama, the economy, foreign affairs in general and the wars in particular, and contemporary social issues often overlooked in the foreign press or export news industry.  With any luck that will provide material for posts. Otherwise I shall work on my open water swimming, which has been neglected since I moved to SG because, to put it mildly, the locals waters are not exactly the cleanest on earth. Since the Florida place is 50 meters from the beach and the water there has not been affected by the Gulf oil spill (it is on the Atlantic side), it will be a nice opportunity to regain some of my surf swimming skills with a view towards using them in NZ once I finally make it back there.

9 thoughts on “On the road again, this time to the Great Satan.

  1. All the best for your new work. With National in Government I would not be surprised if the opportunities for academia work will restart after they leave office next November 2011. The lack of real funding rounds for Universities will be a bit hard to get till after then perhaps. I have tried for Intelligence and Foreign Affairs but to no avail. I am seriously thinking of University (Waikato or elsewhere) lecturing or research assistant.

    It would be good to set up a think tank (left of centre politically) but I don’t have the field experience to boost.

    Again, all the best and looking forward to more posts.

  2. Good luck with it. They sound like inspired plans, and life never rewards people who just sit still – but I doubt you’d be doing that anyway!

  3. Q & George D. Cheers for that. I have also thought about a non-partisan NZ progressive think tank, so perhaps I can add that to the bucket list. As far as NZ academia is concerned, my being locked out has more to do with managerial spite and hubris than it does with funding. So consulting it will be.

  4. Nice plans, Pablo. Best of luck. You should come down and check out Mexican politics while you’re in the Sunshine State.

  5. HP:

    Ojala fuera posible una visita al DF pero lamentablemente en esta ocasion no lo es. Quizas en otro momento…. un abrazo.

  6. Pablo – Good luck with your endeavours. You obviously brought your daughter up extremely well and provided her with sound judgement. :^)

    As an observation I wonder whether some of your posts here and the freely available published pieces in Scoop & Herald would benefit your purse more by including subtle hooks for offers of more detailed analysis along with email distribution to potential clients.

    The New Zealand strategic defence review being an obvious case in point as would aid policy.

  7. Phil: with regard to the son-in-law–your gain is my pain.

    Your suggestion re the business is a good one. I am in the process of developing a web site and was hoping to have a tab that would link to various things I have written, both scholarly and editorial, so as to establish my bonafides. Thanks for the idea.

  8. Good luck ‘Pablo’. We miss you here in NZ, but its great we’ve got you commenting on our local issues.

  9. Thanks J. It is my intention to eventually return to NZ and apply for citizenship (hopefully sooner rather than later), and this career shift may be the best way to achieve those goals.

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